The US must have known that the Japanese were up to no good. It is my belief
that because of this the US decided to rattle a few sabers. The sabers were
dull and obsolete (52 caliber anti aircraft guns) but the carrier of the
sabers (SLC) was very deadly; witness her world war two record.
The US decided to send the mighty SLC on a saber rattling mission. She was
to go to Rabul and rattle sabers. Anchor in the harbor, wiggle her fantail
and proceed to New Guinea and do the same.
From New guinea she was to sail to Australia . Her destination was
Brisbane. Brisbane had the natural harbor of the Brisbane River. The
entrance to the harbor was thick with jellyfish. It seemed thick enough to
walk on them. The skipper took the wheel. The way he handled the ship you
would think he had a run about. The problem turned out to be that he was
trying to beat the tide. After we tied up to the dock the tide went out
and we were stuck in the mud.
The Australians were wonderful. They were happy to see us. They were very
nervous about the Japanese to the north, They couldn't do enough for us.
They invited groups to their houses for lunch or dinner. In order to get a
guest they had to get them assigned by some one of authority on the ship.
Only those that were chosen could go. I was not one of the chosen.
The cars in Brisbane were mostly American. Gas was in very short supply in
Australia. Most of the cars were converted to burn natural gas. You could
spot the cars by what looked like the old style-touring trunk on their rear
As a note in passing we met two very influential people while in Brisbane.
One owned a large lumber yard and the other owned a brewery. Both left the
states with the intention of seeking their fortune. They each only had a
couple of thousand dollars. They sure found their fortune.